Article published in:Corpus Perspectives on Patterns of Lexis
Edited by Hilde Hasselgård, Jarle Ebeling and Signe Oksefjell Ebeling
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 57] 2013
► pp. 35–46
Mom and Dad but Men and Women
The sequencing of sex-determined noun pairs in American English
Departing from Benor and Levy’s approach to binomials (2006), this study investigated the sequencing of word pairs by controlling grammatical, geographical, and semantic variables. Accordingly, 59 sex-determined noun pairs commonly actualized in American English were examined. The preferred sequencing of 56 of these pairs is predicted by a heuristic that applies three constraints sequentially: (1) the metrical constraint – if the pair’s syllables are asymmetrical, the noun with fewer syllables comes first; (2) the family relationship constraint (discovered in this study) – if the pair’s syllables are symmetrical and the pair expresses a family relationship, the feminine term precedes the masculine term; and (3) the power constraint, where the masculine noun precedes the feminine term in the remaining symmetrical pairs.
Published online: 27 June 2013
Cited by other publications
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